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Lulu Lytle’s favorite decorative element in her London home is one over which she has little control. She doesn’t choose it, but always welcomes it when it appears. “Because we have three teenaged children, there is a constant stream of teenagers coming through the home,” says Lytle, “and I can’t tell you what a lovely sight that is every time that I come home and find them here, sitting in the rooms, talking, eating, having fun together, gathered at the kitchen table. That my children’s friends feel welcome here is a very, very nice feeling. It means that our house is an open one.”


As a co-founder and creative director of Soane Britain, Lytle is used to having an open mind when it comes to design. Years ago, she and her then business partner, Christopher Hodsoll, founded the London-based company in response to what they saw as a fast eroding of traditional British craftsmanship. While the company designs and manufactures furniture, upholstery, lighting, fabrics, wallpapers, and accessories, what truly distinguishes it is Soane’s embrace of expert artisans and craftspeople in Great Britain. Crafts and trades once thought to be moribund in the nation—everything from silversmithing to wicker making, blacksmithing to saddle making—endure now, in significant part because of the efforts of Soane. Not surprisingly, the rooms of Lytle’s five-bedroom home in London’s Bayswater that she shares with her husband and children are filled with Soane creations, as well as antiques.


Because the apartment is situated on the top floors of a series of contiguous 1860s townhouses, Lytle likens the views from the windows “to feeling like we’re in the jungle, among the treetops, though this is London.” In decorating her rooms, filling them with her finds from around the world and those made in the Soane workshops throughout Great Britain, Lytle says that her first self-directive is “to make the most of the extraordinary natural light that fills this home from both sides of the building.” From most of the windows, there are direct views onto enormous plane trees. Seemingly immersed within a virtual canopy of trees, Lytle, who is actively involved in animal rights causes and an avowed birder, says that she and her family often watch birds buildings nests, right from their own living room perches.


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This story appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of MILIEU